You can either have capitalism regulated by democracy or democracy run by capitalism. You can’t have both unfettered capitalism and democracy because the unfettered capitalists won’t allow it. Money is speech, don’t you know?
Our entire history has been one where the moneyed interests pretty much run the show lock, stock and gold plated barrel. Occasionally, when they run things into the ground — ’cause shit happens — and for their own preservation by the way, they will permit certain enlightened conservatives to enact very limited progressive policies to mollify the public. See Andrew Jackson, both Roosevelts, not all that much else actually.
Many of us recognize that capitalism regulated by, balanced by, and working with government works really well for the greater numbers of people when its been done. It’s a bottom up approach. It’s a mixed economy, stupid. It’s also pretty much what every other industrialized economy does with not so much controversy.
But one of our major political parties has taken as an article of almost evangelical faith the most hard core economic creed that the capitalists are always right and the economy is always top down.
Enlightened conservatives they are NOT! They do not even accept the few ameliorating adaptations we’ve made for the greater good. They merely tolerate Social Security, Medicare, public schools, public anything, etc. while working to undermine them under the radar. They had unions forced on them for a period but always worked to beat them back and finally won.
How we got to such a place in the 21st century where a very 19th century version of America could be espoused is a heluva story. They really still believe that America was better off when courts denied government the ability to regulate business and, theoretically, everybody was free to engage in whatever contract they saw fit – which in reality left most of the population really no better off than indentured slaves to a fabulously wealthy overclass. It’s an undemocratic vision of economics that has never, ever worked, which is why we needed the amelioration – and of course, we still do!
But that reality, that one of the major political parties has adopted an extreme and dangerous advocacy of unfettered economic elitism without the public really being aware and alarmed is perhaps the even bigger story.